Saturday, April 17, 2010

Acts--What Jesus Continues to Do: Introduction

Jesus has only begun His ministry.

Acts 1:1-2

  • Background: Originally this book had no title, but since the middle of the second century, it has been known as The Acts of the Apostles -- probably because the apostles are mentioned in verse 2 and named in verse 13. The book actually describes the acts of Jesus by the Holy Spirit through His followers.
  • The Author: Luke was a single Syrian physician from Antioch who accompanied Paul until his martyrdom and died himself at age 84. Luke probably wrote Acts about A.D. 62-64, toward the end of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, where the book abruptly ends.
  • The Purpose: To help a man named Theophilus and others see the truth about what Jesus did and taught and how the church spread throughout the Roman world (Luke 1:3-4; Acts 1:8). Theophilus was probably a Roman official because of the title "most excellent" which Luke uses only for Roman officials and governors (see Acts 23:26; 26:25).

Insights to better understand the book of Acts

  • The book of Acts picks up where Luke leaves off - Acts 1:2; Luke 24:50
  • Acts is a transitional book, showing how the worship of God moved from the Jewish temple to the acceptance of Gentiles that believe in the Jewish Messiah and finally to a predominately Gentile church spread throughout the Roman Empire.
  • The main message centers on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Acts 1:3; 26:7-8

Major Themes

  • The sovereignty of God in the founding of His church and the spread of the gospel
  • The power of the Holy Spirit given to all who believe in Jesus Christ
  • The importance of prayer in the life of the church
  • The importance of communicating God’s Word
  • The importance of mission to all peoples
  • The reality of opposition and suffering in the spread of the gospel
  • The life and organization of the church – God’s new community of followers

Outline: Acts 1:8

  • The witness in Jerusalem—primarily to Jews - Chapters 1-8
  • The witness in Judea and Samaria—including the first Gentiles - Chapters 8 -11
  • The witness to the remotest parts of the earth—primarily to Gentiles - Chapters 11- 28

Jesus has only begun His ministry.


Are you a follower that Jesus is continuing His work through?

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